Sunday, September 22, 2019

Snubbing the Bloodlines: The Terminal Embers of Dynasty

Dr. S.L. Bhyrappa’s classic Parva still stands unrivalled in its raw, intense, and gripping depiction of the immortal story of the Mahabharata on the realistic plane. The book is truly a sumptuous  Rasabhojana, a grand feast, an Akshyapatra (bowl of food in unlimited supply) of aesthetics. Pick any dish and you’ll be defenceless and uninhibited in savouring its taste.

One such episode is the slaying of Kamsa by Krishna. In Parva, the invincibility of Kamsa is symbolized by a powerful bow supposedly gifted to Kamsa by Indra himself. On an annual event, the bow is presented before the public and an open challenge is thrown to all: the person who lifts it, strings it, and shoots from it gets to occupy Kamsa’s throne. The unspoken threat twofold: one, the bow like Kamsa is invincible; two, don’t you dare approach it. This very public annual charade continues without break for several decades until the teenaged Krishna accepts the challenge. Not only does he approach the bow, the moment he even lifts it, it instantly snaps into pieces. The truth lying bare before all of Mathura is this: it was a wooden bow, dusty and weakened and frayed and waiting to snap. It takes barely a few minutes for Krishna to kill Kamsa after he breaks the bow. The extraordinary symbolism, message and value that this scene offers is priceless. It is a brilliant metaphor…given in less than the space of a page…for the truth that myth-making is one of the highly effective methods to sustain tyranny.       

Something similar happened in the summer of 2014 when the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi broke the moth-eaten bow of the Congress party’s six-decade long tyranny that had peaked between 2004-14. The two-term UPA “government” was an unbridled tyranny of unelected savages working behind the scenes to wreck everything valuable about Bharatavarsha. Narendra Modi’s indefatigable electoral campaigns across the nation were just one exercise of showing the mirror to said savages. The impact was completely expected: the decrepit dynasty palace cracked and shattered along with the mirror. The actual process was tedious but relatively easy for the person who had the acumen to spot the precise, irreparable cracks at which to strike but one blow of the hammer. There’s bravery and there’s practical bravery. What Narendra Modi did in 2014 was a compelling and highly visual demonstration of the latter.

Look what has happened ever since.

It was always there, like Kamsa’s decayed bow, in plain sight. Political dynasties who had fiefed over “democracy” in India like the foul-smelling robber barons of medieval Europe. Blackmail. Blockage. Bureaucracy. Coterie. Extortion. Gangsterism. Ligitation. Mayhem. Murder. Rioting. Unrest. This has been the story of India’s “economic growth” for the better part post-1947. The fact that we have actually made impressive accomplishments despite all these owes to what can only be called the Tapasya of thousands of years by our noble and spiritual and Dharmic ancestors. No human cause can explain this. Any other country of India’s size would have become Balkanized sometime in the 1960s. By reducing the Original Dynasty to a political rump of 44 Lok Sabha seats, Narendra Modi simultaneously unraveled Indian politics for what it had been up until then: a vulgar and perennially-hungry gang of more than 100 political families as this superb essay shows in painstaking detail.  

Representation of political dynasties of India

Political Dynasties of India

Image Source: India Today (Link)

From Orissa to Maharashtra. From Bihar to Haryana and Punjab. From Kashmir to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. From Andhra Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh, it’s fiefdom and dynasty all the way axing away at India’s sovereign unity one tiny blow at a time, dragging down the nation’s attempts at becoming prosperous, inviting enemy agents and feeding them biryani and beef and beer and brandy…the list is endless.

This is not too different from the incessantly squabbling, warring Janapadas and Mahajanapadas in Kautilyan India…warring over tiny parcels of land, water, and other purposely-unresolved border skirmishes.  

Since the latter part of last year, this gang rechristened itself as Mahaghatbandhan where everybody is a potential Prime Minister and nobody is an elected representative in the actual sense of the term. Not one has any record of noble distinction or public service or even something as basic as unswerving commitment to the unity and integrity of India. To borrow an iconic headline, the so-called Mahaghatbandhan is a headless body in a topless bar.

Check out the “heads” of some of these clueless, hence crumbling dynasties.

Consider Mamata Banerjee, the initiator of Project Save Dynasty. She’s barely human forget being sane. In a Nobel-prize winning feat, she has singlehandedly transformed West Bengal into the Indian equivalent of Hell’s Kitchen of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Friends in West Bengal tell me that in comparison, even Pakistan feels safer.

You can search the whole world with the best equipment available and you’ll still be unable to find a viler politician than Chandrababu Naidu. And this remark is notwithstanding patches of his exemplary work in his previous tenure as Chief Minister. Patches that he shrewdly used to  package himself with a slick media campaign that touted him the CEO of (undivided) Andhra Pradesh, the new messiah of economic growth, and assorted PR gimmickry. That path eventually yields diminishing marginal returns as history shows. Chandrababu Naidu wouldn’t have won the 2014 elections but for the Narendra Modi wave that swept the nation. Once he safely returned to Chief Ministership, he revealed his true colours. This time, he was in a tearing hurry to make up for the decade-long famine of power that he had suffered. Except that he realized that Narendra Modi was not Atal Bihari Vajpayee to give in to arm-twisting and blackmail and the rest of the filthy tricks that continues to remain Naidu’s stock in trade. The real strength of Chandrababu Naidu is an impressive global network of rich business cronies who he feeds off from and vice versa. A little too late in the day, Naidu realized that Modi wouldn’t allow him to plunder the exchequer, wouldn’t tolerate corruption or make space for his business friends using unfair methods, feats that he had so skillfully gotten away with under NDA-1. Which is the real reason behind his phony clamour that “Modi has done injustice to Andhra.” Simultaneously, Naidu’s walkout from the Modi government in 2018 also sealed his future political prospects forever. 2018. Mark the year. Four full years of sharing political power in the centre and then turning back and dirtying the plate that you ate from. There’s an even bigger factor that will—hopefully—destroy the Telugu Desam Party. Chandrababu Naidu’s son, Lokesh. This is the timeless, proven Achilles’ Heel of the greatest emperors and politicians. Filial love. Blind. Incurable. If there’s someone stupider than Rahul Gandhi, it is N.R. Lokesh.

Then we have another senior dynast, former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda cut from the same cloth. Head of Janata Dal (Family). An arch-casteist, wannabe Muslim-in-next-birth and the destroyer of everything that was good and decent and honest in Karnataka politics. The epic takedown of Deve Gowda’s vile style of political buccaneering by his former loyalist, B.N. Bacche Gowda should tell you everything you want to know about him. Enough said.            

As for the rest, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati (not a dynast strictly speaking but fits the bill for our purposes), Ajit Singh, and Ajit Jogi don’t count for much. Akhilesh Yadav had perhaps his first and only best run as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh before Narendra Modi and Amit Shah bombed his political future for good. His father, the original dynast is now an ailing and incoherent patriarch, a kind of King Lear on speed in old age.  

The so-called Mahaghatbandhan or Grand Alliance

And everybody wants to be PM. The whole charade is so farcical that each one of them deep in their dark hearts know that their chances of scoring even a semi-decent victory are bleak. As a consequence, they’ve been forced to do what they’ve never done in their lives: tell the truth. About themselves. Inadvertently. In despair. Out of sheer frustration. A great strength of Modi’s political acumen and his ability to set the narrative lies in the manner in which he compels the opposition to reveal their hand against their will. The picture that has emerged has been hideous: from Mamata to Chandrababu Naidu to Deve Gowda to the Yadavs, every one of these worthies has publicly used language that one doesn’t hear even in a whorehouse. The “Mahaghatbandhan campaign” is simply a campaign of slander and abuse personally targeting Narendra Modi. The seeds were sown in the disastrous 2007 Gujarat campaign when Sonia Gandhi made that suicidal “maut ka saudagar” remark against Modi.

The highly conspicuous facet of the 2019 elections is the total sidelining of the original dynasty: the Nehru family now headed by aliens. The rest of the aforementioned mini-dynasts are unwilling to touch them even with a bargepole…these mini-dynasts were once the highly successful imitations of the Congress Template of kicking the Hindus and appeasing Muslims. It’s that bad. What’s even worse is the fact that despite winning the assembly elections in significant states: Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, it appears that those were merely pyrrhic victories.

The Congress party gave up any hope roughly in February. In fact, the so-called Mahaghatbandhan “campaign” peaked, sputtered, and fizzled out roughly by the second or third week of February 2019. From then onward and now, into the fourth phase, these moth-eaten dynasties are desperately trying to salvage whatever they can. The spate of unabashed electoral violence unleashed by the Shurpanakha of West Bengal is the most vicious face of this fact.  

Oh! Lest we forget Priyanka “who” Vadra. The book of her political life has exactly one page. When you turn it over, you read, “The End.”  

This among several other reasons is what the nation must thank Narendra Modi for. He has refused to permit these slobby dynasts to pretend that they are still somehow relevant. Or have ability, competence, ideas or even plain patriotism and care and concern for India. The other glaring evidence of their irrelevance and consequent desperation is the kind of pretenders who like rats have emerged from the sewer to pose as “alternatives”: Kamal Hassan, Prakash Raj (Rai), Kanhaiya Kumar, Hardik Patel…the fact that these powerful dynasts are wooing and courting these degenerates is the precise evidence of their dynastic irrelevance.

After seventy plus years, the fate of these dynasties that have corroded India’s body politic, gnawed away its wealth and resources, divided its society, and vilified its culture and civilizational ethos is perhaps meeting its logical end. From the Nehrus, Abdullahs, Yadavs, Muftis, Hoodas, Pawars, Thackerays, Deoras, Patnaiks, Gowdas, Naidus, (YS) Reddys, Dikshits and Singhs, the scene resembles a slaughterhouse. It’s like a charcoal that’s completely burnt out, the ashes still smoking, but no amount of puffing will set it alight. A generous dose of kerosene or petrol or diesel will definitely help. For a few seconds…just a few seconds…before it is finally extinguished.

I highly recommend it.

Writer, author, and translator. Author of the bestselling "Tipu Sultan: The Tyrant of Mysore," "The Madurai Sultanate: A Concise History," and "Seventy Years of Secularism." English translator of Dr. S L Bhyrappa's blockbuster Kannada novel, "Aavarana".

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